TONIGHT: LMU will host USC for the final regular-season matchup between the two teams tonight at 6 p.m. from Page Stadium ... the Trojans captured a 3-2 victory over LMU on February 27 earlier this year ... live links to follow the action can be found at LMULions.com.
GAME NOTES: LMU Baseball Notes
LMU: Started the season 3-10 for the first time since 2010 ... 2010 squad then won its next five straight and 10 of next 11 (LMU is now 3-0 since the 3-10 start this year) ... is 21-for-25 in stolen bases, and started the year 11-for-11 ... had a string of eight of nine games decided by two runs or less from 2/18 - 3/3 (2-6 in those eight) ... LMU is also 0-4 in one-run games this season ... played consecutive extra-inning affairs on 2/18 and 2/20 for the first time since playing 10 and 9 (scheduled for 7) at UCSB and at Texas on March 4 and March 11, 2012 ... last played consecutive 10+-inning extra-inning affairs on April 30 and May 1, 2011 at San Francisco ... has played for the WCC Championship three of the last four years (losses to Pepperdine in 2014 and 2015, loss to BYU in 2017) ... last earned an NCAA berth in 2000 ... is picked to finish fifth in the WCC Preseason Coaches' Poll ... is also picked fifth according to D1Baseball.com.
LION TRACKS: LMU hit .371 while posting a 3.33 ERA en route to sweeping a three-game series with Valparaiso over the weekend ... the Lions opened the series with a 10-3 win on Friday night before being rained out on Saturday to force a doubleheader on Sunday ... there, LMU captured the series win by way of a 7-4 triumph in game one ... putting the finishing touches on the sweep, LMU exploded for 15 runs on 14 hits to earn a 15-5 win in game two ... LMU featured five players who hit above .400 in the series, including Jamey Smart who went 8-for-14 (.571) with five RBI and Billy Wilson who batted .455 (5-for-11) with two triples and six RBI ... LMU starters combined for a 1.06 ERA over 17 innings of work, surrendering just two runs while limiting the Crusaders to a .203 average against.
BORN TO RUN: LMU stole a season-best five bases at USC on 2/27 ... Nick Sogard led the way with three stolen bases, while Billy Wilson and Kenny Oyama both stole one ... the Lions began the year 11-for-11 in stolen bases, and are now 21-for-25.
-NIKO DECOLATI: Is tied for the team lead in multi-hit games with five ... leads the team in runs scored with 13 and stolen bases with six, and is tied for the team lead in doubles (3) and triples (2).
-JAMEY SMART: Has hit safely in 12 of 16 games this year ... batting .342 (13x38) with eight RBI over the last 10 games ... went 4-for-5 with three RBI on 3/9 vs. Valpo ... batted .571 (8x14) with a run scored, a double and five RBI in the sweep over Valpo ... tied for the team lead in RBI (11) ... returns after being named first team All-WCC in 2017.
-NICK SOGARD: Leads the team in batting average at .327 ... hit .455 (5x11) with two runs scored, two doubles and four RBI in the sweep of Valpo ... has hit safely in 11 of his 14 games played this year ... has a hit in 9 of his last 10 games overall, batting .368 (14x38) with seven runs scored, two doubles, a homer and eight RBI.
-BILLY WILSON: Was hit twice in the opener against Valpo, and has now been hit 43 times in his LMU career - tied for third-most in LMU history ... has been hit 7 times this year ... batted .455 (5x11) with four runs scored, two triples and six RBI in the sweep over Valpo ... posted a pair of doubles in the final game against Valpo on 3/11, running his career total to 13 to earn a share of seventh in LMU history ... has hit safely in 12 of 16 games this year, including posting five multi-hit games ... tied for teh team lead in doubles (3), triples (2) and RBI (11).
BREAKOUT WEEKEND?: LMU entered the three-game series with Valparaiso hitting just .205 as a team ... through those first 13 games, LMU was 3-10 and was being outscored, 70-43, while averaging 3.31 runs per game ... no everyday player was hitting above .300, as Nick Sogard led the way with a .293 average ... LMU exploded against Valpo pitching, hitting .371 over the course of the three games and outscoring the Crusaders, 32-12 ... LMU featured five players who hit above .400 in the series, including Jamey Smart who went 8-for-14 (.571) with five RBI and Billy Wilson who batted .455 (5-for-11) with two triples and six RBI ... LMU averaged 10.67 runs per game in the sweep of Valpo ... the Lions also collected 16 extra-base hits, including 10 doubles, five triples and a homer after posting just 21 extra-base hits in the first 13 contests combined ... thanks to the outpouring of offense, LMU raised it team average more than 30 points (.237).
A WHOLE NEW STAFF: LMU returns just 154.2 innings from last year's pitching staff that logged a combined 502.1 (31%) ... in addition, 12 of those returning innings came from players who are not expected to pitch in 2018 (Steven Chavez and Niko Decolati) ... LMU's staff also returns only nine of its 56 starts from a year ago, with all nine coming outside of a traditional three-game weekend series.
AND IT'S A YOUNG STAFF: LMU has used 11 pitchers this year, but only one has been an upperclassman - junior Codie Paiva ... the Lions have used Paiva, seven true freshmen, a redshirt-freshman, one true sophomore, and a redshirt-sophomore ... 84.2 of LMU's 140.1 innings have come from freshmen arms (60%).
PAIVA'S GEM EARNS PITCHER OF WEEK: After throwing a complete-game shutout at Hawaii on March 1, junior Codie Paiva was named WCC Rawlings Pitcher of the Week on March 5 ... pitching in Hawaii for the first time since the Hawaii State Tournament as a high school player, the right-hander tossed a complete-game shutout against the Rainbow Warriors as LMU posted a 3-0 victory over Hawaii ... Paiva was efficient in posting the complete-game shutout, throwing just 86 pitches, 64 for strikes, while scattering four hits and a walk with four strikeouts ... the complete-game shutout was the first since Cory Abbott went the distance and blanked Gonzaga on May 13, 2017.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: In its 36th season as the home of Lion baseball in 2018, George C. Page Stadium is also in its fifth year under the lights ... the 2018 LMU baseball schedule features 24 home games ... LMU, which is 4-3 so far this year, went 17-10 last year at home after going 9-12 at home in 2016 ... the Lions, who have posted a 564-423-4 (.571) overall record in the park's 35+ seasons, have claimed six conference titles while calling Page Stadium home ... the first Page Stadium conference title came in 1986, when the Lions posted a 24-8 record at home ... the best record came in 1988, when LMU was 30-5 at home (.857) ... LMU's historic first game in Page Stadium was played on March 19, 1983, with a 5-1 loss to Cal State Fullerton ... one of the staples of the venue, the Mikos Blue Monster in left field stands 130-feet wide and 37-feet tall.
STRONG WEEKEND PITCHING: LMU's starting pitchers have been strong over the last three weekend series, combining to go 6-2 with a 1.78 ERA over 60.2 innings of work ... LMU weekend starters have allowed 14 runs (12 earned) while striking out 38 and holding opponents to a .205 average against ... Codie Paiva has thrown a complete-game shutout over his hometown team, Hawai'i, on March 1, and threw 6.0 strong innings against Valpo on March 9 to improve to 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA over the span ... Josh Agnew is 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts and 20.1 innings of work ... the right-hander has struck out 10 to no walks.
IT'S JUST A NUMBER: LMU is 34-45-1 against ranked-opponents under head coach Jason Gill over his 10 years as head coach ... the Lions are also 8-10 in weekend series against ranked teams over that span ... LMU is currently 0-1 this year after finishing 2-2 last year ... LMU went 2-7 against ranked-foes in 2016 ... LMU's best record under Gill against ranked-teams came in his first year (2009) when the Lions went 9-2.
SCOUTING THE TROJANS: USC enters the midweek game with LMU sporting a 9-4 overall record, but has lost two of its last three, and three of the last five ... USC dropped a three-game series at Arkansas two weekends ago, and lost to TCU, 10-1, on March 9 ... the Trojans most recently defeated rival UCLA, 3-2, at Dodger Stadium on Sunday ... Chase Bushor, who had the go-ahead homer in the bottom of the eighth to sink LMU earlier this year, paces the squad offensively, hitting .361 with a double, a triple, a homer and three RBI ... Matthew Acosta and Dillon Paulson have driven in a team-high 10 runs, while USC is hitting .257 as a team ... RHP Mason Perryman is scheduled to start on Tuesday, carrying a 0-0 record and a 3.00 ERA through two starts this year ... Perryman allowed one run on two hits and three walks while striking out three in a no decision the first time he faced LMU this year ... the Trojans are led by sixth-year head coach Dan Hubbs.
COULDN'T BEAT THE BUZZER: In a sport that does not feature a game clock, LMU baseball may have run out of time on 2/25 as they attempted to come from behind to defeat Oregon at LMU's Page Stadium ... the Lions scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to cut a five-run deficit to 9-7, but the game was called due to curfew after eight innings ... due to a flight schedule for Oregon, the two sides agreed to not start a new inning after 4:45 p.m., and the Lions were busy putting together the rally in the eighth as the clock moved past the deadline ... Ryne Nelson, who took over on the mound and walked in the final Lion run of the game, eventually struck out Jamey Smart and Trevin Esquerra to seal the victory and strand the bases loaded.
TICKET PACKAGES ARE ON SALE: Season ticket packages for the 2018 season are now on sale ... new ticket plans start at $50 for a General Admission season ticket, while Reserved season tickets can be purchased for $99 ... members of LMU's Little Lions Club also get into all LMU home baseball games as part of the membership, while students, faculty and staff with a valid One Card also receive free General Admission access to every home game ... Reserved season tickets behind home plate include a nameplate on your chair identifying your seat(s) ... fans can also package a mini plan to include any five home games this year, with prices starting at $30 ... General Admission mini plans provide access to all General Admission areas of Page Stadium, while a Reserved mini plan secures a seat in the chair-back sections behind home plate ... General Admission mini plans can be purchased for $30, while Reserved mini plans cost $50 ... to purchase season tickets, mini plans or single-game tickets, please contact the LMU Box Office at 310-338-5466 or visit LMULions.com/tickets.
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